By Anna Thompson
Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan could be out of action until March as he recovers from shoulder surgery.
Muralitharan will not be bowling again for months
Muralitharan underwent surgery in Australia last month and is happy to be taking his time.
He told BBC Sport: "It could be five months, seven months or eight months before I return to match action.
"A better shoulder will put in better performances so I am in no rush to hurry back. I don't want to come back too early and then have more surgery."
The 32-year-old off-spinner has spent the last 14 years playing cricket and said the enforced break had been a positive experience.
"In some ways it is good to be having a break," he said.
"Now I know I am out for at least six months, I can take a back seat and enjoy my life and now I know what it will be like when I retire from the game."
But the Test wickets world record holder said he was raring to get back playing for Sri Lanka.
He will miss the Pakistan series and is now a doubt for the New Zealand tour as well.
Muralitharan was pleased the team had been playing well in his absence.
He added: "People always thought that without me, Sri Lanka cannot win. But by beating South Africa so convincingly in the Test and one-day series they have proved they can.
"I'm not worried about winning my place back. I might have the world record but I do not think I should be given it by right. I am prepared to fight for it."